Encouragement When It’s Needed Most

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs teaches us that there are certain needs which must be met to achieve fulfillment of self. We not only need shelter or food in our bellies, we need to feel uplifted. We need the feeling that we do matter, like we have potential in every aspect of our lives. But what if you don’t have the resources to meet these basic needs?

Certain nonprofits provide services within the full spectrum of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: safety and security, necessary healthcare, creative environments, warm meals, a sense of confidence and basic human connection.

Providing the aforementioned needs, these nonprofits create an opportunity for the citizens of our community to achieve their full potential, allowing them to feel like a complete, valued person.

First Chance for ChildrenFirst Chance for Children (FCFC) delivers comfort and support needs at the root level of humanity: to babies, the beings of our community’s future. Jack Jensen of First Chance for Children made a very astute point: “Getting a new baby off to a good start is the first step in creating a healthy community to live in.”

A teen mom and her baby had been ostracized by those around her and were living out of her car. Someone burnt her car with all her possessions inside, sending her homeless situation from bad to worse.  The local Parents As Teachers program, with the resources of FCFC, was able to get this mom and child in a safe place and supply basic needs through Baby Bag and Safe CRIBS program.

“Our child abuse and prevention programs have saved lives and made homes safer for thousands of children,” explained Jack. “We help families break out of poverty, making our community a better place.”

Family Health Center of Boone CountyAlong with a safe place to live and those basic supplies, babies need supportive health care in their early stages of life, and as we age, those health care needs continue. Not all of us are fortunate enough to have affordable health care; this is where the Family Health Center (FHC) steps in, working closely with other health service organizations in Columbia, to ensure citizens have access to primary medical, dental and mental health services.

“In 2013, Family Health Center served over 2,400 Columbia residents without insurance,” said Phillip Berger of FHC. “Our commitment to the medically under-served is critical to the overall health of our community.”

The relationships between these healthcare organizations strengthen our community and improve the health of our population.

Access ArtsWhile FHC focuses mainly on the physical health of our community, Access Arts places their focus on mental health stimulated by a creative, open environment. Residents of our community can enrich their lives and stimulate their minds through the creation of art or find a healthy, welcomed escape from an otherwise unfortunate circumstance.

Cathy has advanced stage cancer; treatments seem to do nothing.  At times the pain is so great she has difficulty focusing on anything else.  However, when she sits down at the loom at Access Arts and begins to weave, her mind centers on that process and everything else melts away, creating a meditation-like experience, leaving her with a sense of peace she can find nowhere else.

Access Arts creates a welcoming, supportive learning environment for people of all ages, backgrounds and ability levels, though the fruitful art community provides more than lovely visual works of art.

“Art education at all stages of life fosters creative thinking and the problem-solving skills our city needs to face challenges,” explained Shawna Johnson of Access Arts. “Art ed develops new enterprises and builds a community we all can enjoy together.”

Meals on Wheels of ColumbiaIn contrast to those seeking comfort within the walls of Access Arts, many citizens in our community are unable to leave their home due to limited ability or recent hospitalization. For those who need to remain in the comfort of their own home, there is Meals on Wheels.

Meals on Wheels delivers hot, nutritious meals to home-bound people of any age, those with limited ability or incentive to shop or cook, and people recovering from recent hospitalization regardless of their ability to pay.

Aside from the 100 to 120 hot, nutritious meals generous volunteers deliver daily, they bring meaningful, emotional support to those who may be lonely in their homes. The volunteers offer human contact, interaction and a chance to have a connection to the outside world, to the community.

“This last year we helped over 200 clients stay in their home and age gracefully,” shared JoNetta Weaver of Meals on Wheels. “Occasionally, our volunteers are even in the home while waiting for emergency responders for a senior in crisis.”

During the meal delivery volunteers are often able to regularly assess the safety of a client’s home and alert loved ones if they notice a fragile senior needed medical attention.

Columbia Senior Activity CenterWhile Meals on Wheels offers the comforts of a warm meal, fulfilling the basic physiological needs in Maslow’s Hierarchy in their homes, the Columbia Senior Activity Center supports active seniors by providing a place to come together, make connections and build community.  The center hosts activities including, but not limited to: seminars regarding Medicare, exercise classes, line dancing, games and other special events.

We have had a recent widow who now comes in every day to visit with others and has volunteered on our dance committee since her husband passed away. She has become more active and engages with other seniors. We have had music concerts which draw in seniors who did not know of our programs. They now participate in art classes and dances, card games etc.

Jan Palmer, of the Columbia Senior Activity Center, explained, “The Columbia Senior Activity Center aids in establishing activities to promote senior citizens in maintaining a lifestyle of health independence and personal growth.”

Alzheimer's Association Greater Missouri ChapterNot all seniors have the chance to enjoy the Senior Activity Center.  Some struggle just to live in the moment. According to alz.org, every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s; these people can often unknowingly put themselves, or others, in dangerous situations. The Alzheimer’s Association provides care, safety and support at no charge to families and individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Association works closely with the Adult Day Connection (ADC) to provide a safe alternative for individuals with early-stage Alzheimer’s, offering their primary caregivers time to run errands or enjoy much-needed respite.The ADC also allows one of the early-stage attendees to participate every week as a volunteer, maintaining a sense of dignity and self-worth.

“In addition to providing information and assisting with problem solving,” said Joetta Coen, program director of the Alzheimer’s Association, “our staff offers compassion and friendship. It’s important for our families to know they do not have to make this journey alone.”

There is a time in everyone’s life when we are face to face with challenges we have difficulty overcoming by ourselves; we feel alone. Combined, these nonprofit organizations cover the base levels of the human hierarchy of needs. They strengthen our community by providing comfort and support to our citizens in need, taking them one step closer to a sense of safety, security and community.  Unfortunately, this kind of assistance can not be funded on good deeds alone. Your donation can ensure it’s available when needed.  Donate December 1-31st on CoMoGives.com.


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